wwltvsports Saints are scheduled to get back around 6:30 pm, team officials said.
DougTatum Headline: BYE THE WAY/Perfect Saints far from perfect, turn back determined Falcons/Defense rises to task as New Orleans nabs 1st-round bye
jeffduncantp I'm thru speculating on injuries. Been wrong all week
SupaFreak69 13-0 yes zir.....no we gotta get home field advantage.....who dat said dey gonna beat dem saints...
ltorrence24 Dem Boyz 13-0! Who dat!
LanceMoore16 Feels great to be 13-0. Thanks to everyone for your support. Who Dat!
SupaFreak69 On da way bak to da N.O.
usama_young28 Yes suhhhh, 13-0... On the way back to nola. Thanks for the support. Who dat!
LanceMoore16 Wow, thousands of people at the airport to welcome us home. Thank u Saints fans, without u there is no us!!! 13-0 baby, Who Dat!
usama_young28 Jus got back to NO. The crowd was goin crazy! Couldn't get a good pic. The iPhone cam is wiggidy
ChaseDaniel The airport is absolutely nuts! I love it & so does every player! Gets bigger every week!! Who Dat!
reggie_bush Man I haven't even started christmas shopping!!!! I need some good ideas for gifts? Come on people help ya boy out!!!!
JeremyShockey Never quit!!! "I want my scalps" "A hen is only an egg's way of making anoyher egg."
There's lots of media in this weeks edition so give it some time to load after you make the jump.
"Any one of you guys could have scored that touchdown (on the screen pass) it was so open, so I don’t want to take too much credit for that touchdown,’’ Bush told reporters. "It was the right call at the right time and I think a lot of that credit goes to Coach Payton on that play. They were kind of all-out blitzing and just left me and the linemen to score the touchdown.’’
"I yell at a player probably about 10 times a game, and when I yell at Reggie Bush, it’s national news,’’
"Honestly, Sean gets on everybody,’’ Bush said. "It’s not just me. But I understand that you guys like to single me out. That’s fine; I can take that.
"But Coach Payton, he gets on everybody. Sometimes we yell back, sometimes we don’t. It’s just one of those father-son relationships between me and him and pretty much anybody else on the team. If you mess up, you can expect to get yelled at. Even if it’s not your fault, you can still expect to get yelled at.’’
"I felt good today,’’ Bush said. "I felt good last week. I felt good the week before. I’ve been good for awhile and the (left) knee feels great.
"It was good to finally get a decent punt return today. We’ve been struggling as a punt return unit the last couple of weeks. But it felt good, not just for me but completely as a unit. I felt like I had some good runs in there. I probably could have been better, I don’t know. Once I look at the film I’ll be able to tell, but it was a good solid running game day for the running back corps as a unit.’’
Vilma, Saints do just enough to beat Falcons, 26-23 - NewOrleans.com
"We knew the play; all 11 of us on defense,’’ Vilma said. "None of us wanted to call it out because we knew they’d check out of it. But we knew what they were going to do. We had a real good read.
"It’s football and you just trust your instincts. They had burned us on it earlier (for a 38-yard catch-and-run by Snelling on the Falcons’ first possession). But we made a couple of adjustments on the sideline, so if they ran it again we’d be ready for it.’’
"JV beat me to it,’’ Saints cornerback Randall Gay of Vilma’s defensive gem. "We were all over it. It’s like taking a test and you already got the answer.’’
"Yeah, real memorable, one I’ll never forget,’’ he quipped. "We saw something we thought we could take advantage of, but they covered it better than we thought they would. Looking back, I wish I could have thrown the ball quicker to Dinkins because I think it would have worked.’’
-Mark Brunell, on the fake field goal
"We felt like if we got it on the right hash mark and the situation allowed I was going to call it,’’ Payton said. "They did a good job covering it. You do something like that when you have confidence in your defense. We were up three and my thought was, ‘We can go up 10 here.’
"Certainly you risk not getting three points and going up a full score but nonetheless we felt pretty comfortable with the look we were getting.’’
"I was so excited because I thought I was going to be the hero,’’ Nicks said, smiling. "I knew exactly what I was going to do - I was going to jump from the 6-yard line like Reggie (Bush).’’
"It’s not always going to be easy,’’ Saints strong safety Roman Harper said. "We don’t care how ugly it is as long as we get the ‘W.’ ’’
"I thought we settled in there with obviously some big stops defensively right there – the turnover and then the fourth down," Saints Head Coach Sean Payton said. "It was a play that they ran earlier in the game for their first third-down conversion. They came back to it and Jon did a great job of recognizing the formation and made the stop."
"I feel that we had a shot and we didn’t get it done," Falcons tight end Ton Gonzalez said. "I can’t speak for the whole team, but I don’t care for moral victories. I’ve been a part of games like this before and you can’t make the playoffs with moral victories."
"Certainly, you risk not getting the three points and going up a full score but nonetheless we felt pretty comfortable with the look we were getting," Payton said. "And they stopped it, so it was good by the defense."
"No, why would you be concerned?" Vilma said. "We’re 13-0 right now, first-round bye. We locked up at least the two seed right now."
"We just call that battle tested," Brees said. "We understand they only get harder from here on out. We get everybody’s best game from here on out. There is no easy opponent. Just because we walk in the building, doesn’t guarantee us anything other than the opportunity to play."
"Those two defensive plays were important," Saints Head Coach Sean Payton said after the game. "They helped secure the victory, and even though we struggled at times, those plays combined with our offenses ability to score the touchdowns earlier in the game helped the lead hold up. It’s never easy winning in this league, and its always a tough game when you play the Falcons. They fought really hard today and had great effort, and we were fortunate to make the plays when we needed them the most."
Saints at Falcons Game Notes - New Orleans Saints official website
Falcons offense bounces back but falls short - Atlanta Falcons official website
Saints stay clean with close win over Dirty Birds - NewOrleans.Com
Vilma drops hammer on Falcons as Saints prevail - New Orleans Pro Football
Saints v. Falcons Recap: I’m Walking on Sunshine! - Chicks In The Huddle
|Saints running back Reggie Bush's postgame comments from Atlanta|
|Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey's postgame comments in Atlanta|
|Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma's postgame comments|
|Saints defensive back Darren Shaper's postgame comments from Atlanta|
|Saints offensive lineman Jon Stinchcomb's postgame comments from Atlanta|
|Jeff Duncan's Saints-Falcons Vlog (Dec. 13, 2009)|
Just because I can. Warning: This may make you puke.
"It was a hard fought game. It certainly feels good to get a win on the road. We knew it was going to be a tough game, but we came up with a few plays at the end. Our defense had a big stop."
Q: How do you feel Reggie Bush played today?
Q: How important is it for you to have an undefeated season?
A: "We are just really focused on our next opponent and giving ourselves the best opportunity in the postseason. All of our focus will shift to a good balanced team on a short week. We understand that it presents challenges just because of the timing."
Q: How important is clenching the first round bye?
A: "Well, I think that was the only thing we really could have done today."
Q: Can you talk about that fake field goal decision?
A: "It was something we had seen and we took it into the game. We felt like if we got on the right mark and the situation allowed, then I was going to call it. They did a good job covering. We were up three and my goal was to go up by ten. It's certainly risky not getting those points and going up a full score, but we felt comfortable enough that we would get it. It was a good job by the defense."
Q: Was Mark Brunell originally supposed to go to Darnell Dinkins on that play?
A: "Well, the original was covered. There were a few receivers running out and in routes. Brunell, being left handed, is someone I trust a lot. They just did a good job of coming up the field so it was just a good play by them."
Q: There were a couple of close calls. Were those concerning at all?
A: "I just keep working on the little things. This is a good team we played here. Their home record is very good under Mike
Q: Did anything in particular in the game frustrate you today?
A: "I'm going to look at the film and we will see. For our players, 13 wins is a big win. This far in the year, they all become important. We are just going to keep working hard."
Q: What is your philosophy for going for an undefeated season?
A: "One thing we have done a good job with considering the leadership of this team is just looking at the next goal. We haven't gotten away or ahead of that. The next objective for us is to play a good Dallas Cowboys team, and that is really it. That has suited us pretty well this year."
On the game
"Our goal in practice every day is to get better. It requires a lot of hard work and hard work doesn't stop. We have three weeks left and we are going to try to get better."
Q: On possibly going 16-0 and looking to the playoffs
A: "I'm looking forward to Dallas. We definitely have a lot of corrections to make for tomorrow and we are going to do that and get ready for Dallas coming in next week."
Q: Is it important for you to get to 16-0?
A: "It's important for us to take it one week at a time. We worry about Dallas. I'm personally worried about Dallas."
Q: On having people get healthy and contributing.
A: "It's great to get everyone back and we will get better as we get everyone healthier."
Q: Do you feel that the offense has played the perfect game yet?
A: "No. We are still a work in progress and just continue to try and get better every day in practice."
Q: How does it feel to win again?
A: "It's a great feeling. It's great to be a part of the fun and something so special. It's very hard to get a win in this league. We have Dallas coming in next Saturday so I'm looking forward to preparing for those guys. Atlanta played a great game and had a great game plan. They played a really good game."
Q: How much do you sense that opponents are picking up their game against you?
A: "I think people are trying to knock us off. Bringing their best game and bring their best effort. They are trying unorthodox things. But we expect it and get wiser to the challenge and win the games."
Q: At what point do you start to think about 16-0?
A: "We are just trying to get to the next win. All we are trying to do is correct the mistakes that we made today and get another win next week."
Q: What makes this team so special?
A: "Everyone is very close in the locker room. It's like a family. If there is a problem you can just go to the guy next to you, the coach, the GM, the owner and talk about a problem in your life or something that's on your mind. We are really close."
Q: How rare is that?
A: "It's really rare. It's something that I've never experienced."
Q: Well, 13-0. How does it feel?
A: "We know it's going to get harder and harder as we go along. We brought a little extra something today because you don't want to lose to someone in your division."
Q: How should people look at this game? That you guys are fighting to survive?
A: "No, we're fine. When we were about 6-0, I told guys it was only going to get tougher. The more we win, the harder these games are going to get."
Q: Your thoughts about facing that banged up Falcons defense?
A: "Chris Redman and those guys were tremendous. They had a great game plan today. A football game between the Falcons and Saints always comes down to a few points. All the NFC South games are close and it's all about giving each other the props we all deserve. These guys are tough. I don't want to play them again."
Q: Should fans have a concern about how tight this one was today?
A: "No, no. People better get their popcorn ready when they watch us. We're going to give you a full four quarters game. It's going to be like a roller coaster with a lot of ups and downs. But in the end, it's going to be quite entertaining. The reason? This team has more talent than any team I've played with. And there have been some good teams out there."
Q: Talk about locking up the first round bye.
A: "It's big. We did it back in 2006 and it just gives the team a chance to rest up, get guys healthy and try to make a run."
Q: How do you feel about going undefeated thus far?
A: "It means a lot to us. It doesn't happen all that often. We are just enjoying the ride. We understand the opportunity we have and we are enjoying every second of it."
Q: Talk about the play of the defense toward the end of the game.
A: "We as an offense have confidence in our defense and vice versa. We know when they get us a turnover or make a play we feed off that. Today we tried to convert a lot of third downs to keep them off the field and keep them well rested. We each provide momentum to the other."
Q: How did Reggie Bush play today?
A: "That was big having him back. We brought him back slowly last week but today he came up big with two touchdown catches. I feel like our staple of backs fills a role for us offensively."
Q: Talk about tying the Saints touchdown record.
A: "It is certainly a tremendous honor. I'm blessed to be playing here under a coach like Sean Payton and under an offense like this. It's just as much about the other guys as it is about me. It's a team deal."
Q: You've played in some close games lately.
A: "It's called battle tested. We get everyone's best effort. Just because we walk into the building doesn't mean we are going to be assured of a victory. We understand we have to play well to win."
Q: On the interception in the fourth quarter?
A: "It was the same play that had burned us earlier in the game. We said if we saw it again we would make adjustments. I was able to break on it and make a play."
Q: Talk about the play of the defense at the end of the game.
A: "Regardless of what happens earlier in the game, we know we have an opportunity to close games out. We were able to stop them with four minutes left and then again with two minutes left."
Q: What's the difference between this year and last year?
A: "Turnovers have been huge. Last year we were maybe middle of the pack in turnovers and this year we are first. Last year we were 0-5 in games that were decided by three points or less and this year we are undefeated."
Q: You used the screen play often.
A: "Coach (Sean) Payton likes to get our backs in space and the screen is a good way to do that."
Q: Do you feel invisible right now?
A: "Absolutely not. Nothing close to invincible. Every game has been close. A lot of teams are playing us close. It is hard to get wins in the NFL, no matter who you are playing. Today was another character win. The defense stepped up when we needed them."
"That was a hard fought ballgame out there today. I really can't tell you how proud I am of how, not just the 45 guys that dressed out, but the 53 guys on our roster and practice squad that prepared this week to go play a very good football team. It's a resilient group. I've been saying that all season long. I like the way that we hung in there. We didn't get the outcome that we wanted and we fought through some adversity throughout the game. Those guys fought their tails off."
Q. Can you talk about the fourth quarter and the two opportunities you had?
A. "We had an opportunity to possess the ball twice in the fourth quarter. We had the interception where we made a bad read. But I want to say that Chris (Redman) played an outstanding game and we had the interception there. Then we were able to get a stop on a short field. I thought the defense did a nice job. They came out and did what they had to do. On the field goal attempt we were able to win that down. Then, as we got the ball back, I thought we used the clock well. Unfortunately, the fourth down completion did not give us enough yards to keep the drive going."
Q. Can you talk about the play of the defense today?
A. "Well that's a very good offense and I thought the guys fought very, very hard throughout the game. We didn't get as many stops as we would have liked to but this is a team that has moved through some very good defenses all season long."
Q. Can you talk about the decision to not play Matt Ryan and Michael Turner?
A. "Those are decisions that we came to, and I came to, and we talked to the guys. Again, as we go through the process of making those decisions, first and foremost, we're going to make sure that our guys are as healthy as possible and can play efficiently. That was a decision that we made this week."
Q. Was that fourth down play supposed to go to Jason Snelling?
A. "Well, no. You go through the reads. Every play has a progression that the quarterback is going to go through. Unfortunately on that one we ended up short on the completion."
Q. Was that a first option or second option?
A. "I'm not going to talk about what was the first option and what was the second option. Again, we didn't get the yardage on that fourth down play."
Q. On that previous possession with the wildcat formation, what was the thought process behind that?
A. "We had two trick plays that were big plays in the ballgame. Earlier in the ball game was the reverse to (Eric) Weems, the catch on the quick screen wheel route by (Brian) Finneran, and we felt like this was a play that would get us some big yards after the kickoff return. We went into this game with a game plan and we executed the game plan. It was part of our game plan."
Q. What did you see on that Brent Grimes interception with the pass interference?
A. "I saw pass
Q. Were you surprised about the fake play at the end?
A. "It was surprising. I thought that they would try to go up six but that's a decision that the Saints made over there on their side."
Q. How impressed were you with Michael Jenkins coming back after that dropped touchdown?
A. "Well, with Michael Jenkins, I think that was a big comeback. He had an opportunity to make a play earlier in the ballgame. I told him when he came off the sideline that ‘you're going to get another one come your way.' He made the best of that opportunity. It was a great play by Chris (Redman). We caught them in a blitz situation and the protection held up and he completed that ball. It was nice to see Michael get that catch."
Q. You got into the redzone three times. It seemed impossible for you to get into the endzone.
A. "Well it was. There were three scores by both teams in the first half. We kicked field goals, scored two touchdowns and kicked a field goal. I think that really was a big point in the ballgame. That's a very potent offense. When you play an offense like that, you feel pretty good when you hold them to a field goal because they are playing very, very efficiently right now. My hats off to that football team."
Q. Can you talk about your secondary and how they're playing right now?
A. "There was not as many explosive plays in the ballgame today. I thought the young rookie, Christopher Owens, had an explosive play over there on their sideline on a third and four in the first half. He did some really nice things. I thought that Brent (Grimes) held up well. We were without Chris Houston in the ballgame. I felt like we kept it in front of us for the most part."
"I think our team played very well against the New Orleans
How did you feel after knowing you would get the start at quarterback?
"We all had confidence in each other. It was a good game and it was evident that everybody gave it their all. We're proud for everybody for hanging in there and we have to give New Orleans credit."
On the throwing the 2nd half interception:
"It was a situation in which the Saints defense was in zone coverage and I tried to make a throw in a small window. They just made a great play and I tip my cap."
On the unsuccessful 4th and 2 play late in the fourth quarter:
"It looked like Jason Snelling was in a good position to get the first down. But again, the Saints made a great play to stop him from getting any yards after contact. The first down was there for the taking, but we came up short on our execution."
On the Michael Jenkins touchdown:
"Our offensive line had good blitz pick protection on that play which enabled me enough time to look down the field to find Michael. Speaking of our offense, I think we all did a heck of a job of executing play after play. Michael, Jason Snelling, and Eric Weems stepped up and played a good ball game. It was good to see those guys stepping up and filling the roles we needed."
What is the overall emotion of the team after the loss?
"We always think we have a chance and we all understand there is a lot to play for. We are going to continue to prepare and play hard throughout these last three games. I think these guys are a special group. We will not stop fighting."
Describe the last play in the fourth quarter and your attempt to reach that first down:
"It was an angle route to get two yards. They (Saints) read the route, and played it very well. I just came up short and couldn't make the play."
Were you aware of your position and your distance to the first down?
"It was a read and I was doubled on the play. I was aware of my position. That play was one of our bread and butter plays on third down. They (Saints) read it well and made a play on the ball."
What are your thoughts on this team's ability to fight back against arguably one of the best teams in the NFL?
"I'm not surprised. This team has a lot of resolve. Even in the games where we come up short, we always keep fighting. That is the mentality that we have, and coach (Mike) Smith expects nothing less. Coach Smith takes a lot of pride in coaching, and we rally around that. We kept fighting out there and kept it close but we came up short in the end."
Is there such as thing as a moral victory?
"No, not at all. I feel that we had a shot, and we didn't get it done. I can't speak for the whole team but I don't care for moral victories. I've been apart of games like this before, and you can't make the playoff's with moral victories. We had the opportunity to get that score in the end but it just didn't go our way."
Can you tell us about that final fourth down play?
"We ran it a couple times and hit it big in the past but it was one of those things were they (Saints) sat all over it. It's tough but you have to give them credit. They came up with the play when they had to."
I understand that you don't take moral victories but is there something to be said about this team's ability to never quit?
"We're never going to quit. Our ability to never quit is indicative to the style of coaching that coach (Mike) Smith brings to this team. We're playing football. Quitting is unacceptable for this team. If we quit, it wouldn't be fair to our teammates, it wouldn't be fair to the fans, and it wouldn't be fair to me, and it definitely wouldn't be fair to the organization. It is important that we go out there and finish every game. I like that about this team. Now, we just have to get in to the habit of going out there and winning a game. We're really close. I think it's coming,"
Describe they play where you made the pick (interception) then the call came afterwards.
"I had man coverage on. He ran a go-route. I turned and went for the ball, to try and make a play on the ball. It was a tough play. As a team, we have to fight through stuff like that and just keep playing. We have to try to make the stop."
When you turn and find the ball, and catch it. Do you automatically assume that there is not going to be a call, because you turned on the ball?
"I just turned and made a play on the ball. What you said is how it was. Like I said, we just have to fight through situations like that as a team."
Did the coaches back you up after that?
"I could see everybody arguing the call, or whatever. But there's nothing we can do, it's just a tough situation."
How would you describe your guys play against this high-powered offense?
"As a defense, we are proud of our performance. We just had to make a couple more plays and maybe the outcome would have changed. That's an explosive offense as you have seen all season. We hung with them. It just didn't work out for us in the end."
What do you think about the overall defensive effort against the best offense in the league?
"We knew this game was going to be tough and we played them well. In New Orleans, we felt like we had a good chance to win this game. It just came down to the last seconds of the game. We have to give them props, but we felt this is a game we should have won."
When they settled for three as many times as they did today, does that leave you with something going into these last three games, or not?
"Not really, because we really thought we could win this game. It's different if we had no chance to win, and we want to be the kind of team that just plays with people and stays on the field with somebody. That's not how it was at all. We wanted to win this game. Personally, it hurts. I know for everybody it hurts. There's nobody laughing or joking right now. Nobody's happy about it.
Can this team put something back in the tank? The schedule says you still got three, and you still have to show up.
"And we're going to. The team never quits and that showed in this game. We're going to try and do the best we can these last three games. Hopefully we'll get these last three wins. The season's not over with. We don't feel that way at all. We still have three games. We signed up for it, and we're going to play."
Do you take some solace that you played well against arguably the best offense in this league?
"You kind of use this as momentum for the next game. We did a lot of things well, but we also did some things poorly. So, you have to get in the film room and just keep burning away."
What do you think you did well?
"We forced them to field goals. We got off the field on third downs a couple of times. The bad things we did, sometimes we just stayed out there too long."